Maria Muzo, “Breakdown of the Community and the End of Time.”

Llano Grande. August, 1989

Recorded and translated by Tod Swanson

There came a time when the school children were missing school because they would go to dance as the young men and little ones were obligated to do.  The little ones were called trajes, the young men were mozo capitanes, and still other young men were called bachelor dancers.  And so it happened that they began to miss school, and so naturally maybe the teachers from here from the comuna of llano Grande explained to them that they should not perform those fiestas, that they were drinking and missing [school]

That our way of life came to be lost is not the fault of the evangelical church.  It was lost because of the government, the godless government.  I don't blame anything on anyone.  I blame the government.  Doctor Velasco Ibarra outlawed it.  He completely prevented the making of chicha.  Some government agents came to break our pondos (storage jugs), to break our maltas with the chicha in it, to pour it out for us on the ground.  They came to mistreat the people and they didn't allow them to make chicha.  They didn't allow them to make chicha and now from the year 1964 on, they didn't let them drink chicha.  Now they have them drinking beer, beer and contraband rum and all.  And the people are dying, and the men that drink, how many men have now died from drinking those things? And that is why I say that the ancestors' time was more wholesome (sano).  They had their fiestas, yes, but it was more wholesome than now.  Now they smoke that marijuana tobacco and all the young men are ruined.  The young men drink beer, they get drunk, they go and violate the girls, they grab them and ruin them.

[The young] don't want to know anything about the Indian nation.  Now they don't want to speak [their language], they don't want to be [Indian] and they do it [ie. they turn themselves into whites]. Many señorita persons don't want anyone to know that they are Indians.  I have not changed my dress.  I have not changed it.  I speak in my language with those who speak, with those who don't speak it, I speak Spanish. And so it is that in these times the community is being ruined. Before we were all united, the whole comuna. In this whole sector of the comuna we worked together, it was never divided.  We did everything in mingas, whether it was the church, or a road, for the water, for everything.  Now they no longer want to do that.  Each person divides themselves off.  Each person becomes angered.